January 17th, 2020 – 11 min read
Performing a Rapid UX Audit
How to make your product usable by performing a UX Audit within no time?
Designing a product is one step, the other is the art of making it usable for the end users. This could be achieved with the help of performing a UX Audit.
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. The design is how it works.”
Before we dive in, let’s first understand:
What is Rapid UX Audit?
A UX Audit is the heuristic evaluation of a product’s usability with the involvement of UX experts.
Why I’m calling it a Rapid UX Audit? Because unlike usability testing, it doesn’t require testing with real-time users and a large investment of money and time. Thus, it is recommended when you are short on time.
For Usability Testing you can refer to “The Guide to Usability Testing” by UXP in.
What are the Benefits?
UX Audit identifies areas where a user is struggling with a product and can help you create a roadmap for improvements. With UX Audit you will discover why it’s hard for the user to perform a task, how to increase conversions, why user retention is low or any other issues user is currently pointing out.
Ultimately, a UX audit will let you know how to make it easier for users to achieve their end goals and increase the success rate.
Who should be involved?
Awesome stuff happens when you get multiple minds in the same room. So you need to build a team for performing the UX Audit. Typically, it will involve two teams;
Key Stakeholders of Product (For business objectives)
How to Perform?
It’s a simple 3 step process to perform a valuable Rapid UX Audit.
1. Set Goals
Setting the goal is important. It’s the baseline for the process. I have divided this step into three categories which will end up setting the goals.
Define Vision for the Project
For defining the vision of the product you need the involvement of client-side team to get the answers of the following questions;
1. What is the purpose of the Product?
2. What are the goals of the Product?
3. Complete Overview of Existing Product.
Develop Goals for the Product
1. How would you define a successful product for your organization?
2. What does success look like? How will you know when you have been successful?
3. How would you describe the product?
4. From an organization’s viewpoint?
5. From a user’s viewpoint?
Once product goals are developed, it’s important to define the Audience (Users). For defining Users some important questions need to be addressed before moving to the next step of the Audit process.
1. Who are the users of the Product? (Primary and secondary users)
2. How would you describe the users? (User characteristics, such as age, experience, education, etc.)
3. Why will they come to the Product? (User needs, interests, and goals)
4. When and where will users access the product? (User environment and context)
Now you have a clear idea about the vision, goal, and audience. After conducting an effective session with the client team, having all the above answers you are all set to start the Audit.
2. Perform UX Audit
Here only UX Audit team will be involved. The audit will be performed considering the above-gathered knowledge. It starts with the research work. Let’s discuss each of the steps in detail.
Competitors & Industry Research
All UX designers know how much competitors and industry research is important before designing a product, though it is equally important while performing UX Audit.
Of course, the products don’t exist in isolation. New products enter the market every day, and existing products need to rapidly learn, adapt, and anticipate the needs of their users to survive.
“One important factor for a product to stand out in the market is its intuitive User Experience”
Before diving into your product you need to get enough knowledge about the industry and the relevant products available in the market. This will help you understand the ease and familiarity of users about the product in the same domain.
Heuristic Product Evaluation
A heuristic evaluation is a lightweight evaluation that allows you to identify usability issues without the involvement of users.
Here comes the stage where you are actually looking into the product. The Audit team should sit together and go through the features of the product. Perform actions and go through each of the use cases figuring out how easy or difficult it is for the user to accomplish the objectives. This analysis would help you find out the flaws in the UX, the pain points of the product based on UX standards and best practices.
It’s recommended taking screenshots of the screens and highlight the problem areas to compile the report in the end.
For Usability Heuristics, You can refer to Jakob Nielsen’s 10 Rules
Recommendations Following UX Best Practices
Once the heuristic evaluation is completed, the audit team is supposed to recommend design solutions for each of the identified flaws. These recommendations are based on industry-focused UX best practices which are tested and users are somehow adapted to those practices.
Once the Audit is completed, it’s time to compile all the findings and present them in front of the stakeholders.
3. Report Compilation
Your report will consist of all the above-identified flaws in UX and recommended design solutions. Report formatting is important as its the end result of performing the Rapid UX Audit; it will have all the findings of the research and analysis of the product.
Here is a sample report which I compiled while performing the audit of a product.
What You Should Expect from UX Audit?
With UX Audit, you have identified potential usability problems, find ability issues, poor navigation, no. of clicks and bottlenecks that prevent users from completing their Objectives.
Next step is to Revamp the Product based on the findings of the UX Audit.
By revamping the existing product, you can improve user satisfaction by providing;
• Ease in find ability
• Quicker task completion
• To the point information that is easier to understand
• Less time consumption
• Less chance of human errors
• Less user frustration
• Easier to achieve end goals